• Workshop Goal #3: Review engineering studies of risks associated with alternative TRMM reentry strategies, including consideration of the accuracy and estimates of the uncertainty associated with such studies.

    • Finding 3.1: As presented at the workshop, uncertainties in potential risks of uncontrolled reentry are so large as to diminish substantially the usefulness of this calculation as a decision threshold.

Recommendation 3.1: NASA should consider (a) making its reentry risk calculation more transparent, rigorous, and meaningful and (b) placing its reentry risk calculations into a more comprehensive framework.

  • Workshop Goal #4: Consider a longer-term strategy for “technology assessment of observing systems” to provide decision makers with reliable and scientifically robust knowledge of risks and benefits associated with similar future situations.

    • Finding 4.1: To primarily, or even jointly, serve direct operational functions, the TRMM program would likely be designed, managed, and implemented in a very different manner than it has been as a research program.

    • Finding 4.2: If advances in engineering design and launch vehicle success rates allow for the potential extension of research missions beyond original plans, then this creates a new set of decisions for the remote sensing science community.

    • Finding 4.3: Decision makers lack knowledge necessary to prioritize observational programs and plans according to their contributions to science and society.

Recommendation 4.1: Decision makers would benefit from an ongoing effort devoted to the “technology assessment of observing systems” that would seek to evaluate the broad costs and benefits of alternative observing strategies for both science and society.


Recommendation 4.2: NASA and its operational partners would benefit from a more systematic approach to the “transition of research to operations.”


The full workshop report can be viewed at http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/pielke/workshops/trmm/index.html.



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